Presentation of Photography in the Digital Age
Today images are everywhere, and the world around us is a visual feast. In some ways, this is to the students' advantage, as creating photographic images is much easier and less time consuming than it used to be with traditional photography. In other ways, this is a disadvantage. It can lead to sloppy workmanship, and the student is entering an already flooded marketplace.
Presenting the final images can be done in various ways. Traditional approaches can and still are taken with digital imagery and if the student chooses they can simply create a hand-made album or photo book. Hand-made works offer kinesthetic qualities to the work; being able to handle and touch the photographs or book is very appealing to people. Students can create their own binding by sewing and gluing the pages. They can choose the paper and how they present the images (and text, if appropriate). This kind of student or college project will always be interesting, and should be encouraged - understanding how a book or album works is a vital skill in photography. Students can also go the other way and go completely paperless. For instance, they can choose to create a blog, website or even a slideshow on Photobucket or Picasa to be viewed online. If the student chooses, they could create an exhibition in a either physical space or online. There are many other ways of presenting photographic work, such as placing it in a box, placing it on furniture, making a book online and then have it printed, or even placing the works on fabric.
As this project was about exploring identity, it is important to remind students that the final presentation should reflect the nature of the work. Picking the best format to suit the work created is essential as great images can lose their impact if placed in the wrong format or used in a way that jars with the work. Looking at how other artist have presented their work can be a great source of inspiration. Tracey Emin created a tent with "all the people she had slept with" sewn into the fabric. Sophie Calle creates books that juxtapose text and image to tell personal stories and performance pieces. Other artists, like Helen Chadwick, have placed their art on furniture. Exploring new ideas and techniques should expand the students project to create something that borders on becoming professional.
Student projects in photography should optimize the creative potential of the students involved. By looking at other photographers and artists, thinking about how photography itself works and by using creative methods for final presentation students' should be able to explore the medium and their own intentions. Students should be encouraged to keep a production log or journal to show how they began and the progress they have made throughout whilst creating the work. A celebration of the students’ work through a group exhibition could be a great way to finish this project.